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Foot Patrols: Of What Value?

NCJ Number
American Journal of Police Volume: 6 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1987) Pages: 45-65
F Esbensen
Date Published
21 pages
This study reports findings of a 2-year evaluation of an experimental foot patrol program in a medium-sized southeastern city. Police records were used to assess what effect the foot patrol officers had on reported crime.
Interviews with merchants in the foot patrol area and in a comparison community were conducted shortly after the foot patrol program began. Two years later, a second sample of merchants was interviewed. Data do not reveal support for foot patrol as a source of satisfaction with the police and improved police-community relations. High esteem for the officers did not increase any attitude of general support for the police. The downtown merchants did not show statistically significant higher evaluation of the police than their suburban counterparts, even though they rated the foot patrols effective. Data do show that foot patrol officers can reduce complaints about vagrants, vandals, drunks, parking shortages and other drawbacks of decaying downtown areas. They do not fight crime, however, in terms of Index offenses. 5 tables, 3 notes, and 21 references. (Author abstract modified)


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